by Cassidy Ward
Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 has come to a close and I find myself decompressing and reminiscing on the memories of a ridiculously successful weekend. Three days of navigating a sea of people both inside and outside of the convention floor tell me one thing unequivocally: people came. Lots of people. There was nowhere you could go and be more than a few feet from another human being, except for one place. It’s with that in mind that I want to point out the seemingly undiscovered gem of the convention, the Gaming Room.
The Gaming Room was one of the places on my list to check out during the weekend, so I walked the floor with eyes peeled but couldn’t find it! I walked the halls where panels were being held, looking at signs for any trace of it, but to no avail. Feeling like Indiana Jones looking for the lost grail or the Ark of the Covenant, I searched with no luck. Then I did the unspeakable and asked someone for directions. I was directed to walk to KidCon and continue north. I walked past the robots, the Doppler and the Big Hero 6 display and found myself in a small corridor where I found four people and a pizza box. Was this the fabled room or a mere distraction to throw me off the case? Should I turn back and give up the search for the elusive room of gaming? Never. A few steps further and the hall opened up on a room that felt almost out of place. It was quiet, it was calm, there was breathing space and there were games – games as far as the eye could see. I had found Gaming Mecca, Gameri la, the Lost City of Dice with its 8,000 terracotta miniatures.
The Gaming Room was a wonderful and welcome respite from the chaos of the rest of the convention. There you could paint your own miniature, participate in a Super Smash Bros. tournament or a giant game of chess. To the left of the entrance was a game library where you could try your hand at dozens of tabletop games, completely free of charge – and if you found that you liked one of them, you could buy them from the vendor in the center of the room.
There were also a vast selection of panels all with an eye toward gaming. Have you developed a tabletop game and need to know where to go next? There was a panel for that. Want to learn how to play “Magic: The Gathering” or “Munchkin” or “Star Trek: Attack Wing?”There was a panel for that. Maybe you’ve got the basics of “Dungeons & Dragons” down but you need help developing your character, or you’ve gotten into “Magic: The Gathering” but your deck could use a little help. There was a panel for that.
Intercut between the panels and discussions there were tournaments of almost any game you could want to play. “Magic: The Gathering,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Munchkin,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Settlers of Catan,” “Zombie Dice,” “Dominion,” “Star Trek: Attack Wing,” “Yu-Gi-Oh,” “Chess,” “Star Wars X-Wing,” and more. Whew! Most had a $5 entry fee and the winners walked away with prizes and bragging rights.
You could argue that the gaming room was a convention unto itself, you could easily have spent all day every day hanging out there and there wouldn’t have been a minute wasted. In truth, I’m planning on doing a lot of that next year.
It was glorious! My only regret was that I hadn’t found it earlier. How foolish I was to not have asked on the first day, to put my pride aside and be directed to the secret treasure of Salt Lake Comic Con. If I can give you one piece of advice for next year’s convention it would be to find the Gaming Room and find it quickly. You’ll not only appreciate the content available, but the quiet atmosphere will give you a recharge before heading back out into the spectacular madness of the rest of the con. If I can give you a second piece of advice it might be to guard this information like your deepest secret, but that would be selfish.
Cassidy Ward is an Official Salt Lake Comic Con blogger and a published author.